Cambria turns dray-man! For a bit of fun, Sea Change Sailing Trust have linked up with Mighty Oak Brewing, the brewers of the “Captain Bob” brand of beer, which we have featured on this blog previously to make some deliveries from Maldon to coastal and waterways pubs. Annie Meadows of SB Kitty fame has managed to capture the spirit of the event in this picture which shows a superb banner created to link the Cambria Trust, Sea Change and Mighty Oak. Excellent banner, guys! In “Cambria Watch” meanwhile, Hilary Halajko is experiencing internet problems (Bob Roberts never complained of that, Hilary!) so is reduced to texting. “Into Maldon with Cambria this evening for victualling and tomorrow for loading ale from Mighty Oak for distribution to some of their coastal outlets over the next week or two. This is part of our first extended YSS voyage on the east coast this summer.
We will also be carrying in depth information courtesy of Drinkaware to ensure a balanced view.” Richard Tichener, I know, keeps a ‘dry’ ship, so don’t go thinking all this beer will be drunk by the crew en route. Dave Brooks adds “Cambria continues her tour of the East Coast with our friends from Sea Change. Hilary reports that loading went well. (Captain Bob Beer from the Mighty Oak Brewery). They are leaving Maldon tomorrow at 7am and are bound for Brightlingsea.”
Fair winds, Cambria!
This is rather fun. Cambria is currently off on Charter with the Sea Change Sailing Trust (see also our link from the ‘Useful Links’ tab on this website) which would normally mean that we volunteers would stop hearing about her for a while. But this time, First Mate Hilary Halajko has agreed with Dave B that she will text progress reports when she gets a few minutes in what are generally very long busy days training and keeping safe all those enthusiastic young trainees. It’s good that this has happened ‘this time’ because this is to be quite an exciting and varied trip what with trying to do beer deliveries and to re-enact Cambria’s final cargo shipment.
So, we have already had a text from Hilary saying “Cambria underweigh at just after 4am…ugh!. (Gillingham Pier). 8 gybes to get out of the Medway, gave us a taste for bacon rolls! A fetch all the way to the knoll, 4 tack to bring up in Pyefleet at 12.15pm. Skipper won the sweepstake for nearest time to arrival. Up to Maldon tomorrow afternoon tide. Crew damp and tired but happy.” Dave B adds, “Cambria left Gillingham this morning at 4 am and arrived in Pyefleet at 12.15. She is off up to Maldon on tomorrow afternoon’s tide”. Thanks for the update, Hilary.
We have also had a nice email from Friend of Cambria and Barge and Sailing book author, Nick Ardley who sent us this nice picture of a 1963 Thames Match Pewter tankard. Nick, who grew up as a boy on May Flower says “I was helping my mother to sort through ‘stuff’. She gave me this little pewter tankard. It is from the last commercial era sailing match on the Thames, dated 17th June – that would have been a Tuesday: the Medway was on the Thursday. Those matches took place during the normal working week meaning us kids on May Flower had to have time off school.
Dave B reports some exciting new plans for Cambria. “So,” says Dave, “Sea Change head off to take Cambria up the East Coast and an exciting period that will include the Thames and Colne Barge Matches, and two cargo trips, one to deliver Captain Bob beer to several pubs, and the other to re-enact Cambria’s last cargo from Tilbury to Ipswich.” Have a great time guys, look after the old girl. We hope to see you somewhere along the line. First Mate Hilary Halajko has promised to keep us abreast of progress. “So off we go for a week on the smack, then 4 weeks on Cambria”, she comments, “There is no time off for good behaviour! Our first port of call will be Maldon to collect beer for delivering engineless to various pubs around the coast. It could be fun and it could take a long time!” Today’s picture is one of Dave B’s, showing Skipper Richard Tichener, First Mate Hilary Halajko and one of the trainees heading out to Cambria.
Meanwhile there is movement and maybe some new hope on the sorry tale of SB Ena, currently languishing like Cambria in 2007. One Laura Chown reports “What fantastic news, a Suffolk based family have bought ENA and saved her. Hopefully she will soon be back on the Orwell where she belongs”. There is, of course, an ENA page on Facebook which has been running as a focal point for efforts to restore ENA. This has “”ENA” is a Thames sailing barge, the barge was built in 1906 in Harwich by W.B McLearon and bought by R & W Paul Ltd in Ipswich where she spent her working life. When road transport took over the transportation of the company’s products she was transferred to the Sports and Social Club of Pauls & Whites in 1974 and re rigged as a mule barge.
As a young man”, says the writer, Olly, (sorry, surname unknown. I will try to find out) I spent many a happy hour on Ena and have some very happy memories of my Father carrying out maintenance on the engine!
The reason for setting up this web page is that Ena is in very poor condition and is up for sale, what i would like to do is to get people involved in setting up a charity to enable the barge to be saved restored and once again sailed in her former glory ! This will be an enormous project and will be a lot of hard work but the end result will be amazing and will also mean that another historic barge has been saved from a very uncertain future, so if you are not scared of hard work either mental or physical then please get involved and lets bring Ena back to Ipswich where she belongs.” Laura tells me “Her home is on the Orwell. We just can’t wait to see her back here but we are not sure how easy she will be to move.” We are rooting for you, the ENA team.
Another nice picture of David Suchet taken by Bruce Richardson, this time with Operations Manager, Rob Bassi lurking in the background. This is the guy you speak to when you try to book charters and the like.
I am away from the laptop today but have just time to post this lovely shot supplied by Chairman Bruce Richardson. This is Patron David Suchet and his good lady, Shiela on board on the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Cambria is this weekend on her way back to Gravesend skippered by Ian Ruffles and Denis Johnson with trainee 3rd hand Mark C. From Gravesend she will be collected by Richard Tichener, Hilary Halajko and possibly “Stretch” for 4 weeks more work by the Sea Change Sailing Trust and their youth scheme. She’s going to be a busy lady!
I was asked by a non-bargin’ chum the other day on Facebook what was the difference between a smack and a barge. I had no sooner answered him than this lovely picture hove into view which showed very well to the guy what I had just said. It was taken and posted by one Annie Meadows who turns out to be a Maldon local and associated with the SB Kitty. She was good enough to let me borrow the shot to use here, so thank you for that, Annie. We can presumably all spot Repertor as the closest barge and Dave B was able to identify the others, but not the smack. Unfortunately I have deleted the mail in which Dave did so, so perhaps he’ll come in as a comment and tell me again?
A date for your diaries for Saturday Fortnight if you can get to Faversham. TS Hazard is the Sea Cadets building down on the southern Creek bank right by the swing bridge. Best parking might well be Bank Street main car park up by the swimming pool (pay and display on Saturday, possibly still free Sunday) or you could try down at Standard Quay (though I think Cambria will be off sailing) and enjoy the very pleasant walk back up the picturesque Abbey Street, parallel to the Creek.
Faversham Creek Trust are now motoring well in their drives to get the Creek back open and to do up the creek-side Purifier building as an apprentice training facility cum workshop. They have published this significant picture of the main gut-way of the creek (below the swing bridge) after Medway Ports engineers had dragged something called a “plough” straight down the length of it to create a straight channel down which the muddy silty stuff from the basin and swing-bridge operations could make it’s fast exit seaward without stopping at Standard Quay or Iron Wharf for a rest. They have also published pictures of the engineers down at the base of the swing bridge sluices with huge backward “Vax” hoover-style pumps stirring up the accumulated silt round the gates so that the gates could open and close. More recently I have also seen some nice pics of the Purifier windows being opened up again to let the light in, where they’d been boarded and bricked up to stop vandalism and squatters while the building was basically abandoned. All this is on the lovely Faversham Creek Trust website on http://favershamcreektrust.com/ where you can also read all the other news stories and sign up to be emailed the latest news.
Dave B is making scurrilous remarks that I may have coerced this article out of him …”seeing as you practically forced my arm up my back”. What a suggestion! Anyway, seriously, I am delighted to receive the following from Dave describing his mission to Ipswich and Pin Mill over the weekend.
“We arrived at Pin Mill late in the morning of 29th June”, says Dave, “to find just Edith May and Melissa present for the race though Betula was at her mooring by the Butt and Oyster Pub. A quick spin down to Shotley revealed the Reminder at Harwich, then back to the Butt and Oyster for lunch. Off to Ipswich Dock and things were much more promising, with Centaur, Lady Daphne. Ardwina, Marjorie, Victor, Lady of the Lea and Phoenician all present and soon to be joined by Thistle and Hydrogen who were waiting to lock in. We decided to head back to Pin Mill and on the way spotted the little yacht barge Rosie Probert at Stoke Quay. Pin Mill was still quiet but some of the Edith May crew were at the pub and it would have been rude not to stay for a drink.
On the way back to the car I stopped to ask a local where Bob Roberts had lived. He was somewhat bemused having received that morning a letter from Sheila Roberts telling all about the re-dedication. He asked our connection with Bob and we explained we were part of the Trust. His name was Ron Watts and he’d sailed with Bob on the Cambria in the past. He kindly walked us down to the cottage where Bob had lived.
On the following morning were headed off to the Butt and Oyster for Cumberland Sausage and Black Treacle basted Bacon rolls and coffee. Bring on the race. A short drive to Shotley and onto the point and somewhat surprisingly Mirosa was leading the Edme and the Marjorie in the bowsprit class. Edith May was leading the fast stays’ls but had been overhauled by Melissa, Repertor and Decima by the time they reached Lowestoft. Reminder was following and Victor we think started but then seemed to change his mind and joined the following Hydrogen, Thistle and Kitty. The slower barges were next up with Ardwina, Centaur and Lady of the Lea going well, but sadly a collision between Lady Daphne and Phoenician meant an early return to Ipswich for both. Cygnet, Dinah and Cabby (not certain if she was racing or following) were the last barges to pass us at Shotley.
It was an interesting race and as the barges headed back into Harwich harbour Mirosa was leading with Edme appearing to follow the wrong course and having to double back in order to sail up the Stour. Mirosa did well and stayed ahead of Edme to win the Bowsprit class. Repertor overhauled the Melissa to win the stays’l class and Centaur held off Ardwina in the slower class.
All in all it was a very interesting race with good picture opportunities but sad that Lady Daphne and Phoenician came together early on.”
Thanks for that brilliant report Dave which certainly gives you the Record for most Barges “seen” in one blog and mentioned in one report. I make it 22 seen and Cambria mentioned, so 23! It was a definite barge-rich environment. Today’s photo is one by Dave of Decima during the match.